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He can get the acid in my stomach going like no one else...
Old 02-18-2018, 07:18 AM   #1
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He can get the acid in my stomach going like no one else...

A few weeks ago my son made the hour and half drive home from school for the weekend. We struck up the usual conversation about how are classes going. Physics, Calc 2, Speech (9AM), and Comp Sci II and pushover course. He complained about the Comp Sci’s professor speaking with an accent and going to fast. I said well its “in the book right?”. I quickly became evident that the back hadn’t been broken on the computer science book. Subsequent texts indicated a need to “catch up”. I cant help but wonder how someone who does so well with the least amount of effort can be so utterly clueless.

I’ve sent him texts twice since to encourage him to “keep at it”. We have an understanding if his GPA is below 3.0 and he’s transferring to the local Penn State. Where he will live at home and go to classes. Yeah I am a meanie but I also participate in my firms recruitment. If you have less than a 3.3 they wont even talk to you. In fact one of the candidates we made an offer to had to bow out because of a bad semester. Crazy right?

I know I am putting pressure on the kid just like I did with my daughter. It’s competitive world out there and its time to put on your big boy pants. I’ve heard from friends that they use I dont pay for Cs method.

Three more years I know it will get better- right?
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:30 AM   #2
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You know your son, so it is in your court how to handle him.

But you are not kidding about GPA hurdles in hiring. 3.5 minimum seems very common now, and it doesn't matter that you studied rocket science at MIT versus basket weaving at Yoohoo U. That 4.0 in basket weaving will get more interviews than the 3.0 in rocket science. I think it is partially driven by the internet-ification of the hiring process. Large firms get hundreds of applications for each position, perhaps thousands for the GEs and Googles of the world. So they take a first cut by filtering at some GPA level.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:38 AM   #3
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Not sure if you want empathy (which you completely deserve), or a suggestion to help with this - so going to focus on helping resolve the acid....

Two ideas -- 1. if your daughter is close to your son, see if she can/will reach out to him to provide encouragement/advice. 2. if the school offers "peer to peer" tutoring or tutoring hours by a grad student or professor, perhaps remind your son that is available to him.

Not everyone learns by reading - some are auditory learners or learn by doing.

I have observed that the "carrot/stick" option doesn't work well when a young person isn't sure how to get his/her arms around a topic/subject that is causing them confusion or anxiety.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:41 AM   #4
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I teach computer science. Your comment about opening the text book made me chuckle. I see it every day. That and students who think it is perfectly OK to copy materials from the Internet.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
A few weeks ago my son made the hour and half drive home from school for the weekend. We struck up the usual conversation about how are classes going. Physics, Calc 2, Speech (9AM), and Comp Sci II and pushover course. He complained about the Comp Sci’s professor speaking with an accent and going to fast. I said well its “in the book right?”. I quickly became evident that the back hadn’t been broken on the computer science book. Subsequent texts indicated a need to “catch up”. I cant help but wonder how someone who does so well with the least amount of effort can be so utterly clueless.

I’ve sent him texts twice since to encourage him to “keep at it”. We have an understanding if his GPA is below 3.0 and he’s transferring to the local Penn State. Where he will live at home and go to classes. Yeah I am a meanie but I also participate in my firms recruitment. If you have less than a 3.3 they wont even talk to you. In fact one of the candidates we made an offer to had to bow out because of a bad semester. Crazy right?

I know I am putting pressure on the kid just like I did with my daughter. It’s competitive world out there and its time to put on your big boy pants. I’ve heard from friends that they use I dont pay for Cs method.

Three more years I know it will get better- right?
The first year is definitely the hardest in my experience with our three that went to college. All ended up graduating and have jobs. Lots of life to figure out in that first year, and even into the second. I think setting the boundary required to stay independent is a good one, but perhaps multiple references to it would be less helpful. It is what it is and it’s his to achieve or not. Lots of studies on kids and college these days and while it’s not our first choice, some kids just aren’t ready when the calendar says they should be. A year off finding out what working 40+ hours a week is like in a low paying job paying mom and dad rent can be a great motivator in and of itself.

I feel your pain and wish you the best of luck going forward, this brings back lots of memories.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:44 AM   #6
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Is he going to college because he wanted to? Or because you wanted him to?

Whenever I get asked about what to major in college, I always give this advice.

Figure the lifestyle you want to live.
Find out how much money that lifestyle costs.
Find what jobs that make that kind of money.
Prepare and get one of those jobs.
Do the stuff you enjoy in life in your off time, not while you are working.

You can also tell him that girls are more attracted to men with more money. Give him examples of Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Hugh Hefner, George Soros, and just about any age 60+ politician or actor that is out there.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:47 AM   #7
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Actually, the OP is much nicer than my Mom. After a socially fun but academically mediocre first semester, as she reluctantly wrote out the check for the second semester and declared that unless my grades improved that would be the last tuition check that she wrote... and it was clear that she meant it. I did better that second semester... good enough to ensure further tuition checks but not lighting up the world.

My epiffany was a manual labor job over the summer between my freshman and sophomore years. It was a hot, difficult job and I realized that while for me it was just a summer gig that for the guys working beside me who were just a couple years older than me, it was their life and they only earned a bit more than the minimum wage that I was earning and that it would be best for me to try harder to succeed in college so I didn't end up in their shoes for the next 30-40 years. I regularly made Dean's list after that.

One thing that your son should be aware of.... since you only have 8 semesters, it is very hard to improve your cumulative average if you had a bad start.... combine a mediocre year with 3 very good years and the mediocre year has an impact.. I missed graduating with honors by 0.0075!

Have him calculate what he would have to have in grades over the next 3 or 3 1/2 years to make up for a bad start and maybe he will "get it" and bear down for the rest of this semester and beyond.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:31 AM   #8
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I worked construction (summers & whatever else I could get) in college because it paid the best for unskilled labor.

And I saw plenty of guys still doing it, getting paid minimum wage, well into their 30s.

That was one h*** of a motivator to keep studying.

If my current high school senior screws up their first year they'll be coming home probably not to attend CC, but most likely to meet with military recruiters.

IIRC U.S. Army still offers contracts with only 2 years active duty, with significant educational benefits (independent for FAFSA, in-state tuition regardless of residency, partial G.I. Bill)
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
He complained about the Comp Sci’s professor speaking with an accent and going to fast. I said well its “in the book right?”. I quickly became evident that the back hadn’t been broken on the computer science book. Subsequent texts indicated a need to “catch up”. I cant help but wonder how someone who does so well with the least amount of effort can be so utterly clueless.
I think this demands a "come to Jesus" meeting in person. Tell him to bring his Comp Sci book and show him how easy it is once he cracks the book. Make sure he knows that he is on a path to oblivion if he fails to make the most of this easy year.

Ask him what he wants to work at? Then make him aware what recruiters in those professions demand. Working in construction is a good way to finance college but it is a crappy way to build his resume for eventual employment.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:40 AM   #10
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I can't ever remember a prospective employer asking me what my college GPA was, but maybe times have changed since I had to worry about this. I always thought experience mattered more, as well as having strong interviewing skills.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Senator View Post

Whenever I get asked about what to major in college, I always give this advice.

Figure the lifestyle you want to live.
Find out how much money that lifestyle costs.
Find what jobs that make that kind of money.
Prepare and get one of those jobs.
Do the stuff you enjoy in life in your off time, not while you are working.
To the point. Well said with minimal words!
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:24 PM   #12
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I can't ever remember a prospective employer asking me what my college GPA was, but maybe times have changed since I had to worry about this. I always thought experience mattered more, as well as having strong interviewing skills.
I think this only happens when you're fresh out of college...
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:59 PM   #13
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Undergraduate GPA will certainly matter if you want to go to grad school/business school/law school/medical school. I can tell you from personal experience that if you want the high paying job in the big law firm, you had better attend a top ranked law school. And if your undergrad GPA is low, you won't make the cut.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:20 PM   #14
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If he's got the same classmates from one class to the next, is he part of a class study group? Some of the best students in my engineering school did that and it clearly helped a number of them (i.e. do homework together)
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:19 PM   #15
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The only Company I interviewed with that wanted a transcript (classes and grades) was Ford.

To this day I rejoice that my GPA was too low for Ford Motor Co to hire me -
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:13 PM   #16
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I’m pretty sure my first job out of college required my college transcripts (as unstellar as they were). But I also had to take an aptitude test, which is how they weeded applicants out. This was in ‘87.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:26 PM   #17
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What's so awful about that? The food is better at home.

It kind of rankles that you paint living at home and attending a state college - particularly a first-rate one like Penn State - like some kind of Purgatory. Frankly, I lived with my parents during undergraduate school - and attended the Local State College, even though I'd been a National Merit Finalist. There were several obstacles in my way, but these weren't it. Got straight A's and subsequently did rather well in life.

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he’s transferring to the local Penn State. Where he will live at home and go to classes. Yeah I am a meanie
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:30 PM   #18
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College is where young men go to play video games from 2 pm to 4 am.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:45 PM   #19
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Ray,

If your son was accepted to University Park as a freshman - he made a pretty high bar and is a good kid. That said, as someone who did the same as a PSU grad ('86), there are a lot of distractions for a freshman at State College. Part of growing up is figuring out priorities AND being held accountable. Consider having him go to a local PSU campus to retake courses and pull up his GPA to restore the privilege of going back to main campus in the fall. BTW I have the stomach acid tee shirt(s) for both kids navigating life while being away at university.

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Old 02-18-2018, 03:54 PM   #20
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I know I am putting pressure on the kid just like I did with my daughter. It’s competitive world out there and its time to put on your big boy pants. I’ve heard from friends that they use I dont pay for Cs method.

Three more years I know it will get better- right?
Maybe, but there may be a better chance if you can give your help a rest.

Ha
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